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Editor's response

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  02 January 2018

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Copyright © 2001 The Royal College of Psychiatrists 

Although the Journal generally uses the word ‘patient’, it is not our policy to censor an author's use of the word ‘client’ if it has been expressly and consistently used, on the assumption that the author has used that word for a good reason. There are people who, in some circumstances, accept the professional care of a psychiatrist but who do not regard themselves as patients. For example, people seeking treatment for drug dependence are unlikely to see themselves as having a ‘mental illness’ and thus may not see themselves as patients. I think we would be in danger of misrepresenting a proportion of users of mental health services (and antagonising a proportion of authors) if one word or the other were outlawed in the Journal. Instead, I believe authors are careful in their choice of language, reflecting their concern for the feelings of the people with whom they work.

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